CAN SONG HIT RIO'S HIGH NOTES?
By Rupert Webster
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Song has experienced considerable success throughout his career. He won his first international cap for Cameroon at the age of just 17 and, at 24, has already played for his country 67 times, with the highlight coming when he captained Cameroon to African Nations Cup success earlier this year.
However, this season has seen Song restricted to merely a bit part in Liverpool's assault on the Premiership.
He has played just three League matches and has done little in those games to suggest he is capable of ousting Gerard Houllier's first choice defence, so he would probably jump at the chance of regular action at West Ham.
Whether The Hammers would be buying a ready-made replacement for their departing star is open to debate. The former Metz defender's distribution has been disappointing this season.
He has been accurate with just 54% of his passes - the lowest rating at Anfield and 14 percentage points worse than Ferdinand - indicating that he would struggle to emulate the West Ham man's classy ball control.
Indeed, coming out from the back, Song has looked anything but comfortable. He has retained possession in just 60% of his dribbles and runs, which compares unfavourably with Ferdinand - who has been successful with an incredible 93% of his dribbles.
One area where Song does excel is in the tackle. He is fiercely competitive and has used this trait to help him emerge with the ball in 85% of his challenges this season - 13 percentage points better than Ferdinand.
Unfortunately, the Liverpool defenders' will to win has often led to disciplinary problems. Song is the only player to be dismissed in two separate World Cups and he has already committed six fouls and received two bookings in the Premiership this term.
This certainly fails to live up to Ferdinand's standards. The Hammer has seen over three times as much league action as Song, but has still committed the same amount of fouls and has yet to pick up a single yellow card.
Redknapp has already said that no player could ever truly replace Ferdinand at the heart of his defence.
And, despite Song's commitment and vast international experience, Opta feel that he may struggle to take Ferdinand's place in The Hammers' starting XI, should he make the move south to Upton Park.